QotW: When is it time to call in the professionals?

When it comes to car repair or restoration, many of us pride ourselves on what we can do in our own garages. But there are lines that must be drawn. We feel pretty comfortable tackling any mechanical, some electrical, and occasionally cosmetic issues. When it comes to paint and body, though, that’s when we tap out. It’s time to call in the pros. There’s something about nuts and bolts fastening into place that feels like science, while rust and dent repair or spraying the sheetmetal is more like dark magic.

When is it time to call in the professionals?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What TV series or movie fueled your love for cars?

The answers from last week were excellent, often reminding us of shows and movies long forgotten, or introducing us to things we need to add to the viewing list. Among kids’ shows, for example, we had classics like Danny‘s (and many others) choice of Speed Racer, RamenEater3000‘s Wacky Races, Taylor C.‘s Transfomers, エーイダン ‘s Initial D,  and HE HE‘s Pixar’s Cars. But a surprise entry was something we’d never heard of containing very creepy puppets, Fred Langille‘s Supercar.

In terms of movies there was a wide variety of genres and eras, such as Jeff Koch‘s nomination of Herbie the Love Bug, MWC70‘s Cannonball Run, GeorgeL‘s Smokey and the Bandit, Mark F Newton-John‘s Grand Prix, speedie‘s Vanishing Point and Italian Job. Surprisingly, only one vote for The Fast and the Furious came from j_c.

From TV we got multiple replies with shows like Knight Rider, The Dukes of Hazzard, Magnum PI, The Fall Guy, Hardcastle and McCormick. It seem like the 80s were a golden age. In addition we had MWC70‘s shout out to Simon and Simon, or Michael K.‘s The A-Team, ra21benj‘s BJ and the Bear, Steve‘s Green Hornet, and more. We’re surprised no one mentioned CHiPs or Hawaii Five-0, though.

It was easy to get lost in these series and films, but it takes special breed of true car nut to faithfully tune in to a dry, informational program week after week. That’s why this QotW winner is james, was inspired by the best of Maryland Public Television:

Believe it or not, it was MotorWeek that got me interested in cars. I guess it was a combination of that theme(from ’87 onward) as well as the cars presented.Especially the classic Japanese models.

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

JNC Decal smash

This post is filed under: Question of the Week and
tagged: .

9 Responses to QotW: When is it time to call in the professionals?

  1. Lupus says:

    Yeah, defenelty body work that is visible & paint make me call for pro’s. I’m pretty good at welding in terms of weld’s strenght but the visual side allways lacks that elegant touch.
    Besides, i don’t have enough room in my garage’s to do some serious body work in there. It reuires space to move around the car, and the painting on the other hand requires sterile envionment, with no dust and of course goood lightning.
    Oly other thing that I allways let be done by speciallists is putting tires on rims & balancing. Even thou i know how to do it, I just don’t have personal access to those machines. And when it’s done by people that are doing it on daily basis it goes a lot faster 😉

  2. Fred Langille says:

    It took a summer of working on my late father’s 1955 Plymouth Belvedere with the dash auto shift and Hy-fire V-8 to realize I wasn’t any sort of a bodyman at all. He had just passed away and my mother wanted to sell the car (I was 14 and, although I wanted to keep it for myself she was sad looking at it … he was a retired ChiefGunner’s Mate in the USCG and, after retirement, worked at Lakehurst NAS on aircraft carrier jet arresting gear like you saw in JAG). As a result othat, the white car had his fingerprints ALL OVER IT. Quite a reminder so, it had to go. My buddy Charlie and I wanted to fix it up … rusted rocker panels and “eyebrows” over the headlights plus wheel wells. It was a summer of hand sanding loads of putty and, like many 14 year olds, even tho we were enthusiastic, we lost interest soon but, kept it up. As I said … it took all summer. We did it and, got a quickie Earl Scheib-like job. To our delight, the old bus looked pretty darn good, color-changed to a solid Robin’s Egg blue! Mom sold the car to a nurse who REALLY needed it. Both Charlie and I got paid for it by the profits. It was enough for me to realize that bodywork repair/refurbishing needed better tools and experience at doing it than what I had. Since then, both it and electrical work (guess I was scared by electrons when I was younger Idano), I leave to the professionals … What I AM good at is visualizing what I want done and, having pros do it … the detail work on the S-Cargo proves that (plus 5 trophies!). This may not enable me to do much myself (event at 74) but, I can assist those who do know in gettin g what I want done. (All save for the 1953 Kaiser-Frazier 4-door sedan I was given but, that’s ANOTHER story all together!).

  3. HE HE says:

    One word: never.
    I think that you should always try to do stuff on your own so you won’t have others do the work for you. And also, if you get the car running well, you can brag to everyone that you resurrected a car all you want. It also gives you experience in case something like resurrecting a car happens.

  4. speedie says:

    You need to replace that gizmo and the repair manual says to use specialty tool ABC, which costs $150. You of course think, “I’m not spending that kind of money on a single use tool. I can make my own out of the stuff I have lying around in the garage”. So you make the tool, install it and whack it with the hammer. Following Monday morning (assuming you did it on a weekend), “Hello (insert name of favorite repair shop here), the gizmo on my car broke, when is your next opening for a service appointment”. Disclaimer: Any similarity to an actual event that may or may not have happened is purely coincidental.

  5. Chet Manley says:

    I value my time at $500/hr, if its cheaper to pay a shop than it will be to pay myself, I outsource my work.

  6. Mark F Newton-John says:

    If it involves anything more than I have in my toolbox, off to a mechanic. That is, for my Corolla. Now for my current cars built recently it is off to the pros. Sure, on my Corolla, I’ve changed my headm alternator, carb, water pump, radiator… but for my cars built in this century, I’d just rather have someone else to the wrenching…

  7. j_c says:

    Gimme a fully equipped shop and there’s nothing I can’t do.

    It’s usually lacking tools or the right space when I need help, like paint/body and alignments.

  8. robin says:

    my process is:
    – what is my end goal with the vehicle
    – what tools do i have in-house to perform certain tasks to my satisfactory level
    – what is my budget, this here is extremely difficult as this almost always changes as your build progresses, so have a minimum and a maximum then once you reach your max you should be at a point where the car is enjoyable so you can save up more to finish it.
    – prioritize , have a list of important to least important
    – When taking your car to a “professional” speak to current and previous clients if possible, with the internet there are many companies that have reviews so check those out before dropping your precious cargo off and do not pay in full ever until you are satisfied. When handing your vehicle over spend about 30mins to an hour with the owner/manager going over everything you need done, put it in writing and let them sign that they agreed to perform things your spoke about. Then pop in every 2 weeks to check progress, but dont be pushy or in their way. phone before coming to arrange a slot for you as respect goes both ways and these small things end up creating a great long standing relationship (dont get too friendly with anyone that does work for you and if its family know the difference between business and being friendly)
    -Do a lot of prior research before going to said professional.
    – Know your limits and as cool as it is to diy and try things yourself, it could be alot more costly in the end.

    My answer is based on the rusted out Hakosuka and also restoring a vehicle, but for small mechanical work… always try to attempt things as there is an abundance of info online (especially on JNC).

  9. kikiichiban says:

    Shame the forum is dead as my thread would highlight this. I had my 510 Coupe 6 years without much real progress until I called in the professionals. Took them 2 years to return it to me, still. unfinished. 8 years in now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *